Does my Doctor friend not understand Mental Health? Watch

Maid Marian
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Hello, long post but please read

Bit of background: I've had bad anxiety for about 10 years now. I've known this guy/doctor for 5 of those years.

My anxiety makes me exceptionally nervous for things like going to new places, meeting new people, presenting, etc. I hyperventilate, shake, get dizzy, awful butterflies, stammer, heart at 100 miles per hour, etc.

Yet, I feel like I've been doing really well in spite of this. I'm in my final year of university, doing teaching which is stressful to stay the least! I've taken lots of steps to improve myself and I'm constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone.


So we've just had this conversation, about me visiting a school halfway across the country tomorrow morning.


Me: Hey.. I'm really nervous..

Him: Why

Me: No idea, it's not even an interview.

Him: No I meant about what, no context

Me: Oh, the visit to the school tomorrow, maybe I need beta blockers or something, I've heard they're good

Him: No they're not. You just have a natural disposition to thinking simple things can make your complex problems better

Me: Well what would you suggest? My body takes fight or flight way too seriously, I know it's completely irrational.

Him: As usual, you just want an easy way out. A convenient pill to make things better. Something that doesn't require any difficulty or investment by you.

Me: Ecuse me? I'm trying my best here, how dare you say that?

Him: How dare I :lol:

Me: I'm sharing how I feel with you and you're putting me down like that? How the hell would you know how hard I try? How could I try anymore?

Him: I forgot I'm only allowed to say things you like to hear in response.

Me: Medication, CBT, counseling, forcing myself out of my comfort zne, what else? No tell me, what should I be doing? And why of those things doesn't involve me trying?

Him: Not assuming that simply taking another pill is the solution to life's problems, and accepting that you feel like **** and that's how life is meant to be. Not something to be cured.

Me: Except I didn't say that? So you think I'm destined to be like this? That there is no help? Isn't that your definition of not trying?

Him: I think you need to come to terms with the fact that not all stress an difficulty is wrong and abnormal, and that you're not meant to have 'help' for all negative experiences.

Me: Even when they're far exaggerated from what they should be?

Him: How do you know what they should be?

Me: So people with mental health problems shouldn't have any help? Based on other people - do you shake and get dizzy when you have to visit a new hospital?

Him: No, people with mental problems shuldn't assume that everything that is hard is a part of mental illness. They shouldn't expect that everything in life should be made easier and that nothing should cause them distress. They should come to terms that some things are beyond their control and part of the human condition is not to be able to be alright with everything

Me: Except that's not what I said

Him: You don't get the luxury of only talking about what you said

Me: Did I say nothing should cause me distress? And lmao, yes I do.

Him: Suit yourself

---


Then I blocked him :lol: Is it just me or is he bizarre? The bold bits I think are really out of line, and the italic bit is just funny. I got so angry because firstly he said that I don't try (which is rubbish, we hardly ever talk so what would he know, and also I'm constantly pushing myself), then he said that I need to accept the way I am?

Isn't he contradicting himself there?


Genuinely please tell me what you think, this guy is an NHS doctor and I'm finding his viewpoint worrying.
Last edited by Maid Marian; 4 weeks ago
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ecolier
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(Original post by Maid Marian)
... I've known this guy/doctor for 5 of those years....Genuinely please tell me what you think, this guy is an NHS doctor and I'm finding his viewpoint worrying.
It depends on his grade and experience. Just because he is a doctor doesn't mean he automatically knows everything about mental health.

He may also be treating you like a friend - i.e. non-professionally (albeit antagonistically) and not as a patient / service user.

I do agree that he is much less than empathic though, and I believe you are right to tell him that.
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Maid Marian
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(Original post by ecolier)
It depends on his grade and experience. Just because he is a doctor doesn't mean he automatically knows everything about mental health.

He may also be treating you like a friend - i.e. non-professionally (albeit antagonistically) and not as a patient / service user.

I do agree that he is much less than empathic though, and I believe you are right to tell him that.
He's about 4 years into it I think, he's 25 or 26.

He does think he knows everything and he'll never admit he's wrong.

You're a doctor, aren't you? Thanks for replying!
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ecolier
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(Original post by Maid Marian)
He's about 4 years into it I think, he's 25 or 26.
I wonder what specialty he is in...

He does think he knows everything and he'll never admit he's wrong.
Yep some people (doctors!) are like that, and your dialogue proves that. It's probably just his personality - not saying he's right of course!

You're a doctor, aren't you? Thanks for replying!
:yes: and no problem! :hugs:
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Maid Marian
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(Original post by ecolier)
I wonder what specialty he is in...



Yep some people (doctors!) are like that, and your dialogue proves that. It's probably just his personality - not saying he's right of course!



:yes: and no problem! :hugs:
Umm... I know he does a lot of A&E... and he likes geriatrics. I know he did a stint as a GP a year or so ago, I dread to think what he was like with his patients :rofl:

Also he uses this forum so if he sees this he'll probably never speak to me again. :ninja:

:hugs:
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Decahedron
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It isn't particularly unsurprising for an NHS doctor to have a complete lack of understanding about mental health, not in my experience at least.

But it does read like an example piece of how not to talk to someone about mental health.
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SoulfulTwist
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Is it possible you talk to your friend a lot about feeling nervous/anxious or taking meds etc?
Maybe your friend was tired of it.

Or maybe your friend was trying to help you out a bit in saying, is it possible that some of it might not be such a big mental health concern as you think, after all to some extent we all feel nervous. Maybe your friend was just trying to say that if you could manage without meds it would help you more in the long run, or your friend was trying to be bad cop in an attempt to help you.

or maybe you caught your friend at a bad time.

Or maybe your friend lacks empathy and/or understanding of mental health issues.
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Maid Marian
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(Original post by Decahedron)
It isn't particularly unsurprising for an NHS doctor to have a complete lack of understanding about mental health, not in my experience at least.

But it does read like an example piece of how not to talk to someone about mental health.
Thanks for replying
(Original post by SoulfulTwist)
Is it possible you talk to your friend a lot about feeling nervous/anxious or taking meds etc?
Maybe your friend was tired of it.

Or maybe your friend was trying to help you out a bit in saying, is it possible that some of it might not be such a big mental health concern as you think, after all to some extent we all feel nervous. Maybe your friend was just trying to say that if you could manage without meds it would help you more in the long run, or your friend was trying to be bad cop in an attempt to help you.

or maybe you caught your friend at a bad time.

Or maybe your friend lacks empathy and/or understanding of mental health issues.
Your first point, yes, I always have, but not for quite a few months. I suppose I expect him to be bit kinder than he is, just because he's a doctor.

Thanks for your opinion :hugs:
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Apachecow
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(Original post by Maid Marian)
Him: No, people with mental problems shuldn't assume that everything that is hard is a part of mental illness. They shouldn't expect that everything in life should be made easier and that nothing should cause them distress. They should come to terms that some things are beyond their control and part of the human condition is not to be able to be alright with everything
Possibly not a popular view, but Amen to this.

It's normal to get stressed and anxious about unusual situations. We all (used to anyway) hide that and ignore the panic, sweaty hands, racing heart. These days mental illness has been so normalised that eveyone seems to have it. Trust me it gets better. The first time I stood up in front of an audience to speak I could easily have puked.

I agree with the doc, sorry.
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shameful_burrito
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Sounds like a psychopath tbh
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bones-mccoy
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Stop talking to him. He's clearly not supportive and thinks his role as a doctor means his opinion on all things medical is far superior to yours when that's simply not the case. Remember he's not your doctor, he's not the one who can actually prescribe you anything or refer you for any counselling groups, so don't worry. He can't possibly start giving out his medical opinion when he's not even assessed you directly.

From what you've described, your reactions to anxious stimuli are way over the top and definitely causing you distress. There's a difference between having anxiety and feeling anxious - everyone feels nervous about public speaking but not everyone will hyperventilate, shake, feel sick etc. I understand that some doctors don't feel comfortable prescribing pills for every person they see who says they're depressed etc but completely dimissing your symptoms is wrong, he's also not given you any viable alternatives or coping strategies so as far as him being helpful is concerned....nothing. Great doctor there.

The bit in italics is so patronising and non-sensical I can't understand why he's still a friend in the first place. What a tool.
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SoulfulTwist
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(Original post by Maid Marian)
Thanks for replying

Your first point, yes, I always have, but not for quite a few months. I suppose I expect him to be bit kinder than he is, just because he's a doctor.

Thanks for your opinion :hugs:
The other times was he like this or is this a bit odd for you to be hearing from him?
I would have taken a lot of offence at what's been said, TBH.
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Etomidate
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Being a doctor on shift, at work is completely different to chatting to a friend online. He's not your doctor, he's your friend. Being a doctor is just a job, after all.
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Tootles
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(Original post by Maid Marian)
Umm... I know he does a lot of A&E... and he likes geriatrics. I know he did a stint as a GP a year or so ago, I dread to think what he was like with his patients :rofl:

Also he uses this forum so if he sees this he'll probably never speak to me again. :ninja:

:hugs:
I assume he's in training, because there are no doctors that young (did you say 26?) with that amount of professional experience.

If you were talking informally, then he might have let slip some frustration he feels (whether justified or not) with you. Maybe you came across to him as not being fully convicted in your wish to bring yourself out of it, and said those unfair things. That's bad, but those frustrations do happen, and people voice them, whether or not they should. Bear in mind that there are a lot of people who sit around playing Candy Crush for twelve hours a day, seek no improvement of theirselves, and then complain that they've "got mental health" (I knew someone a while back who was exactly like this, down to using "got mental health" as a euphamism for depression) - those folks give the rest of us a bit of a bad reputation, especially when the depression creeps in and we forget to get out of bed or take a shower, or leave the house for a month at a time, and just go quiet. Those folks who alternate between motivational and suicidal posts on Facebook. I'm sure you know the type.

Basically, some people are lazy, and they're the loudest ones, which makes some people think we're all the same.

But yes, his attitude is wrong - but in a way it's kind of understandable.

However, and you might now like me for saying this (not that you like me much anyway, I don't think :lol: ), but some of what he said was right. Not about you, but in general. It's a very easy trap to fall into, thinking that all our issues are caused (or exacerbated) by our clinical problems - depression, anxiety, and in my own case autism too. Can't get out of bed? Depression saps our energy. Terrified to stand in front of thirty kids? Anxiety. Can't ignore the workmen down the road, so they're stopping you from working? Attention deficit disorder. Can't get your ideas across to someone you've just met without them thinking there's some other motive there? Asperger's. Those are generic examples btw, might apply to you or me or anyone.

It's swings and roundabouts really, with some of those. Some might just be parts of who you are, some might be caused or exacerbated by your clinical problems. There's merit in convincing yourself that getting a handle on those conditions might remove all those effects, because the power of the mind is magnificent. However, it could also do harm to someone in whom those are just personality attributes.
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osasman
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Talk to me guys. Why are you stressed and depressed? People who are stressed and depressed love to talk to me. Go on then, don't be shy. I am well-versed at this.
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